Sarah was a 32 year old media sales manager who led an active social life and attended the gym 3 times a week. However, whilst driving to work one morning in 2010, her car was hit forcibly from behind by another car. She had been waiting to pull onto a roundabout and was leaning slightly forward with her head turned to the right.
Although she felt very shaken immediately after the accident, she thought that she was otherwise uninjured. However, when she woke up the following morning, her neck was in considerable pain, the pain radiating into her shoulders and the upper part of her back. She attended her doctor who told her that she had suffered a whiplash injury and advised her to take painkillers and rest.
For the first couple of weeks the symptoms were at their worst but then started to improve a little. Unfortunately, the improvement did not continue and she returned to her doctor. He advised her that she would benefit from physiotherapy, but told her that there was a “considerable waiting list” locally for NHS physiotherapy.
A former client of BLB Solicitors recommended us to Sarah. It was clear that treatment was a priority as it is generally recognised that the earlier that treatment is available, the better the longer term outcome. We were able to arrange local physiotherapy privately, paid for by the insurance company of the driver who was responsible for the accident.
Whilst the physiotherapy was initially helpful in reducing the level of her symptoms, she eventually reached was she described as “a plateau”, after which she did not notice any further improvement. We therefore arranged for her to be examined by a consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeon who arranged an MRI scan and produced a report. His findings were that Sarah was suffering from Cervical Spondylosis, also known as Degenerative Osteoarthritis
This condition was not caused by the accident, but the accident had served to activate a dormant condition. The consultant advised her that if she had not been involved in the accident then it was likely that the condition would not have become “active” for about another 10 years. In other words, the accident had caused her to suffer symptoms about 10 earlier than if she had not been involved in the accident. However, the medical expert was also of the opinion that her symptoms were more severe and less amenable to treatment than if they had simply developed with time.
Sarah’s work was largely desk/computer based. Whilst she was able to return to work, her employer had to modify her work station and allow her more frequent short breaks, as sitting in one position for any length of time would aggravate her symptoms.
Her domestic life has also had to be adapted so that she puts as little strain on her neck and upper back as possible. Sarah explained that “I’ve had to learn to pace myself. If I’m hoovering, then I take a break between rooms. If I’m cooking then I try not to use large saucepans. My partner always did his bit at home but now has to help a lot more. He has to carry the shopping, move furniture and carry the hoover upstairs. I was always very independent, but I’ve had to learn to ask for help and not try to overdo it.”
Sarah’s claim settled for £54,000.